Some advice. Your plate is full. If you are anything like I was when my kids were young, I'd get stressed out trying to make non essential decisions. Instead of breaking things down, I'd attempt to eat the entire elephant in one bite.
I began DIY when my kids were young as it was the only financially viable option. I am grateful for all the experience I got. I've learned to experiment before making a change that couldn't be rectified if I didn't get it right.
You wouoldn't believe how easy it is to paint a counter top and that is something you can experiment with today. Whatever is on that video, you don't need. This DIY is probably one of the cheapest, easiest, and most rewarding. No one will believe you did it! For the experiment phase consider the color palate you'd like to have.
Click here: Color Scheme Designer 3
Play with this page. It will show complimentary colors that when mixed will create another complimentary color.
I'd go to Walmart and pick up several of those cheap 2 ounce paints. But if you started with a coat of say, black, and let it dry you'd have the foundation for a dark counter top but the beauty is, as you layer and mix color, the black base serves to add depth to what you put on top. The end product may not show even a hint of black.
The really fun part is that you can use just about anything as an applicator except for a paint brush! Actually you CAN use a paint brush to splatter which is something to practice. Scrunched up anything will create a unique pattern. Sponges, but don't think "sponge painting" YUCK are a basic but the best results come when you use your imagination. Scrunched up tin foil will have sharp edges. Think about a wadded ball of lacey fabric, even cheesecloth. Even bubble wrap. You can pick up a cheap 9" x 12" sketch pad. Smaller than that would not give you enough space, and the paper has to have some heft to support the layering. Even though these paints produce a matte finish, you can use regular hair spray to see the effect with the same shine the counter would.
I think that black, brown, shades of muted tones in the same brown family and that shade of aqua-ey blue you always see paired with brown, would be a nice palate. The way you use the light shade is to apply it and then cover most of it so there's just a hint of it here and there.
If you have a husband or partner, unless they are creative and very good natured, they would likely poo poo this idea. Don't let this deter you. Wouldn't it be ideal if you could get your house free for the weekend?
The other thing you can do right away while the cabinet fronts are still attached, is to remove the hardware and get started on repairing the center. My favorite tool for this part of the job is home made. I take the plastic lid from a large coffee can, use some kind of straight edge to cut off the top third of the lid the use fine sand paper folded over the edge sanding it to a single thin edge. Then you cut the side to a size appropriate for the job at hand. Removes more spackling, for example, than the best putty knife.
I don't think I can send you a private message until you have 20 posts. That would be easier so I don't bore everyone. You just have such a perfect palate to work with in that kitchen. The light cabinets will expand the room. More later if you'd like. This is fun. You don't happen to live in NH do you?